Not on the Syllabus: Helping Students Face Unplanned Pregnancy

Author Tells Story, Gives Advice for Young Mothers Worried About Future

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The pro-life movement is not just about saving babies. It’s also about saving moms and dads. And in order to accomplish this goal, moms need a lot of support. Especially young moms, says nurse and author Chaunie Brusie.

Brusie’s book, Tiny Blue Lines, will be released next month by Ave Maria Press.

ZENIT spoke with Brusie about what young mothers need as they face unexpected pregnancies.

ZENIT: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to write Tiny Blue Lines.

Brusie: I am a young, Catholic mother of three (soon to be four!) and I wrote Tiny Blue Lines simply because it was the book that I searched for when I became unexpectedly pregnant with my oldest daughter during my senior year of college. As a Christian, I struggled so much with feelings of guilt and shame and I wanted hope and inspiration that this baby was sent to me for a reason, not as a punishment for my sin. Motherhood during college isn’t exactly a popular move and I wanted to hear that it could be done and done well. My book seeks to reach all those areas and encourage young mothers in similar situations that they can have their babies and still live their dreams, no matter what those may be. 

ZENIT: The pro-life movement is multi-faceted. What niche are you hoping to help fill?

Brusie: I love that there are so many people working together toward the mutual goal of supporting life. My role is simple — to show the women in these unplanned pregnancies that there is hope. When you are the one looking down at those two lines [on the pregnancy test], it doesn’t feel like a new life; it feels like the end of your life as you know it. I hope to show, through my story and the story of many other young mothers, that young motherhood doesn’t always have to be a struggle — it can be normal, productive, and in many ways, even a «smart» move. Choosing young motherhood often actually helps women to «have it all» more while they are able to build careers alongside of their family, instead of the other way around. I truly don’t think abortion will end until women in crisis pregnancies believe that they are stronger than the lie the abortion industry tries to sell them: that motherhood is a dead end. 

ZENIT: What’s the best advice you give in your book?

Brusie: I am most proud of the incredible stories of other young mothers in my book — women who have had their babies and gone on to become entrepreneurs, writers, doctors. They are living proof that young motherhood is not a dead end, and given the right support, anything is possible. And as I say in the book, «You can carve your own path to motherhood and God does want to support you on that journey. You can do this. You are a good mother. And you are not alone.» (p. 110)

ZENIT: What do you think the pro-life movement has to do to become more effective?

Brusie: Recognize that for many women, abortion is not a black and white issue. Yes, it seems simple: it’s a human life, but again, when you’re the woman in that situation, it feels incredibly complicated. Denial, guilt, shame, and fear are overpowering emotions and they have the power to overtake any other feelings about what is «right». The fear that you aren’t the right person for the job or the fear of other people in your life are huge motivators and so much of abortion is driven by that fear. 

I am always very open to the fact that even as a long-time advocate in the pro-life movement, the moment I saw my positive pregnancy test, all rational thinking went out the window and all I could think was, «No one would ever have to know.» It’s an incredibly scary position to be in and I doubted if my baby could ever truly be a «good» thing out of a «bad» thing — that’s how powerful my shame was. 

ZENIT: What should we expect in the abortion debate in the next year or five years?

Brusie: With the technology that we have and the more we know about fetal development, it seems very hard to deny what we know about human life and [continue with] the «blob» argument. It has become, and probably will be, more about what that baby will do to a woman’s life and if she has the right to control it. It’s hard in a world where we control so much about everything, to accept that life happens, even out of our hands, but it’s my hope that as a culture we can accept pregnancy and babies as normal parts of life, not anomalies to be dealt with or tolerated on occasion. And with a Pope that supports breastfeeding, I’d say we are well on our way! 

On the Net:

Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming Your Life, Preparing For Your Baby, and Moving Forward in Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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